In honor of AmeriCorps Week, I would like to share a story that makes me proud to be an AmeriCorps member and serve the students at La Escuela Fratney.
Selecting Junior Coaches for the Junior Coach Leadership Program is hard to do when you are new to a school. You are unfamiliar with the students and need to quickly identify who to choose for this program. I was having a hard time putting together my Junior Coach roster. I wanted a diverse group of students, but I hardly knew them. I asked fellow faculty for support.
One day a teacher approached me with a Junior Coach Leadership Program application from Maddy, a very nice girl who was too scared and shy to give me the application herself. This timid girl was exactly who I wanted in my program.
As I began to work with Maddy I could see the genuine care she had for others, but how she needed to grow more as a leader. I worked with her to build her confidence and find her voice. I soon saw her stepping up on the playground to lead games.
When time came to select my first Coach of the Month, I chose Maddy. She was so happy when she found out she began to cry. She told me that she never thought she would win anything because she isn’t as smart or athletic as anyone else in the school. I told her that none of those things matter – it’s your heart that makes you a good leader.
Maddy hung up the certificate in her room at home. Now each and every week, she looks forward to our meetings because according to her, Junior Coach meetings are “better than the weekend.”
About the Author: Coach Eric Palanck is a first year AmeriCorps Program Coordinator serving at La Escuela Fratney School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.